Drawn from the Gallery’s collection, Everything Under the Sun pays tribute to the late art collector Andrew Gruft (1937–2021), whose generosity and support over the past two decades have been crucial to the development of the Gallery’s collection of photographs. It features a selection of photographs donated to the Vancouver Art Gallery by Gruft and his partner, Claudia Beck.
Andrew Gruft played a vital role as collector, critic, patron and life force in Vancouver’s art community for almost five decades. NOVA, a gallery that he and Beck ran from 1976 to 1982, was an important nexus for the city’s artists, curators and collectors. NOVA mounted exhibitions of work by well-known photographers, including William Henry Fox Talbot and Robert Frank, as well as exhibitions by then unknown Vancouver artists such as Jeff Wall and Marian Penner Bancroft. After NOVA closed, Gruft and Beck continued to build an extensive and eclectic collection of photographs and to actively support Vancouver artists.
The Gallery’s 2004 acquisition of almost four hundred photographs from the Beck/Gruft Collection—most of them as gifts—marked a radical shift in its collection. Prior to that time, the Gallery’s holdings included little in the way of historical and modern photography. With the addition of these works, it became a collection of international significance overnight. The pair’s generosity endured through regular donations of artwork over the following years.
This exhibition features a selection of historical, modern and contemporary photographs gifted by Gruft and Beck over the past eighteen years. Featured artists include Eugène Atget, Anne Brigman, Karin Bubaš, Becky Cohen, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Oriol Maspons, Gabriel Orozco, Issei Suda and William Henry Fox Talbot, among others.
Everything Under the Sun: In Memory of Andrew Gruft is one of Capture Photography Festival’s Featured Exhibitions for 2022.
As part of their 2021–2022 catalogue, Capture invited artists Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace and curators Grant Arnold and Sarah Milroy to reflect on a photograph from the exhibition.
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art